"Global Generation" Republicans

Monday, October 19, 2009

The intertubes have been filled since last November with various long-winded bloviations and philosophical wankery about what conservatives, Republicans and conservative Republicans "still stand for/really are." A lot has been a race to go farther and farther right despite a "majority voter" being pretty middle of the road.

I ran across this little gem from one of Michigan's own Congresspersons, The Honorable Thaddeus McCotter (R - MI 11). It is an article in the oft-poked-fun-of Big Government e-zine from conservative columnist Andrew Breitbart. It is a discussion about how a new generation of Republicans - The Global Generation - must rise up to meet our new global and national challenges; nay, only The Global Generation Republicans will be able to meet what faces us.

Really, it's a cheer-leading rah-rah post full of $50 words disguised as deep thoughts. I'm all for leadership and finding your path, but this is full of hyperbole and villification of Teh Left as a straw-man enemy. The truth is teh left isn't the enemy at all; they're Americans just like THE GLOBAL GENERATION REPUBLICANS ™.

To set the tone, Rep. McCotter puts it right out there:

They were “Wide Awakes” – scores of torchbearers marching through sleepy hamlets to herald the emancipation of a people from the bonds of slavery into God-given liberty. These despised and decried champions of human freedom and defenders of American Union proudly called themselves “Republicans.”
See? Just like today's republicans who are despised and decried but champions of FREEDOM nonetheless! Torture?? We're champions of freedom, bitches.

One of my favorite gems is this:
Indeed, through history’s lens Global Generation Republicans glean the transformational challenges confronting our nation.
In their time, the Greatest Generation faced and transcended four transformational challenges:
1. The social, economic and political upheavals of industrialization;
2. A world war against evil enemies;
3. The Soviet Union’s strategic threat and rival model of governance; and
4. The moral struggle of the civil rights movement.

In our time, our Global Generation faces and must transcend four transformational challenges:
1. The social, economic and political upheavals of globalization;
2. A world war against evil enemies;
3. Communist China’s strategic threat and rival model of governance; and
4. Moral relativism’s erosion of our self-evident truths.

Despite the parallels, one significant difference exists: The Greatest Generation faced their challenges consecutively; our Global Generation faces our challenges simultaneously.
Ah yes! A history lesson with a comparative analysis of our current world! What a great intellectual exercise. Also, China! Beware!

There are a lot of holes in that particular comparative analysis that we can all hash-out in the comments, but I would argue that industrialization and globalization are two completely different paradigms, the latter of which requires unprecedented cooperation and a stream of communication that cannot be managed. In fact, I would argue that globalization is the best paradigm yet for the spread of true, honest democracy. And it requires a breakdown of industrialization.

The "world war against evil enemies" is lazy. The similarities between WWII and our current GWOT are akin to the similarities between Bud Light and Stone Russian Imperial Stout.

Now, the USSR/China comparison is clever enough, as their governments are indeed rival. But what I think Thadd misses is that China is becoming increasingly 1) global; and 2) capitalist. China's threat to the U.S. is in now war a Cold War nuclear threat of destruction. Their threat to us is forcing us to pay-off our debt, and crushing our ability to manufacture and export. Their threat to us is not war. It's global, and economic. And you treat those differently! At least, I hope one would...

Nice inclusion of the moral struggle behind civil rights. Someone remind me...a whole bunch of people in my parents' generation didn't have to struggle with the concept of civil rights. Seemed obvious to them. But I would like to know more about "Moral relativism’s erosion of our self-evident truths." Which self-evident truths? That we are created equal? I don't recall any single person or belief between the two major U.S. parties that argues a relativist position to that "truth." What I do see is a series of actions that supports the opposite: moral absolutism eroding self-evident truths.

What really pisses me off is that this is on one hand a lazy "intellectual" call to arms, and on the other hand an attack on the Left:
In this noble, necessary service, Global Generation Republicans are guided by our party’s five enduring principles:
1. Our liberty is from God not the government;
2. Our sovereignty is in our souls not the soil;
3. Our security is from strength not surrender;
4. Our prosperity is from the private sector not the public sector; and
5. Our truths are self-evident not relative.

Understanding “politics is the art of the possible,” we embrace our members’ variety of opinions regarding the application of these principles to contemporary challenges; and we never forget that the Left disdains our five enduring principles.
What?? Look, the 5 Principles are fine, and to a degree, I agree with them (the degree being inversely proportional to the amount of hyperbole or buzz-word-addiction therein; Security being from strength not surrender gets less support because it is intellectually lazy and pretty fucking obvious, but is also an equally lazy implied attack on the current administration's foreign policy tac). But that "never forget the Left disdains our five enduring principles" is unnecessary and total bullshit.

Oh wait, I think I just disdained them.

Look, I am all for speaking out against the majority party. That is indeed one of the things that makes us great. Bitch all you want. God knows, Teh Left did it plenty during the Bush Administration, and with as much vitriol. What I disagree with is the villification of a party for "disdaining" your principles, which shift. The opposite party does something, to which you hold up to an ever-changing kaleidoscope and say "they are our enemy because they violated Principle 3(a)." And either party makes me nuts when they declare the other party an enemy of America. They aren't. They are doing what they think is best. But there are people who truly believe, either way, that the other party actually wishes to destroy America. Not only does that chill debate, but it refuses to recognize opposing viewpoints as valid and can incite people to violence. You are threatening someone's beliefs.

Thadd's piece is no rousing call-to-arms. It's just another lazy philosophical meandering with appropriate rails against the opposing party sprinkled throughout. Still waiting for that honest piece to come out...


steves 2:30 PM  

I don't think it is any worse than most manifestos put out by politicians, though I will admit that it isn't terribly insightful. I disagree on your assessment of China. While they aren't as aggressive as the USSR, they represent a potential threat in terms of a destabilizing force.

Their military has gone from a basic, bare bones force 18 years ago, to a having a modern navy, air force, and army. They have built up their ballistic missile systems, their submarine fleet, and have purchased many modern Russian fighter planes and bombers. Last year they reported spending 52 billion on their military, though most defense analysts think it is closer to 140 billion.

They have disputed borders with India, Vietnam, and there is the situation with Taiwan. I am not suggesting that war with them is imminent or even likely, but they certainly bear watching.

Bob 3:02 PM  

Maybe McCotter's press guy will stop by again and will provide some insight into the creation of this fine document.

I think I will draft my own manifesto. I will just chew up and swallow the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the DNC platform, several shots of Southern Comfort and a large dose of paranoia and then vomit it out into a “Manifesto.”

That’s basically how this reads.

Smitty 3:19 PM  

I gotta say, steve, that all I see China doing is moderizing their military.

That said, they moderize theirs for the same reason we do ours; there's only room enough on this globe for one big dog. Having a big-assed, modern military will help guarantee we don't go snooping around North Korea without engaging them, and it allows them to keep a stranglehold on their own little capitalist state of Taiwan. Just like our military and crazy every American owns a gun keeps China from looking too closely at our bag of goodies.

China's true threats to us are being able to make a grab at a bunch of oil that's closer to them than us. But it also includes having the largest population in the world that isn't buying our stuff but is also making everything we want to buy.

Here's my bottom line: I agree that they can be a destabilizing force, but I think the bigger threat they pose to us is watching us collapse financially and economically.

Bob 3:35 PM  

"I agree that they can be a destabilizing force, but I think the bigger threat they pose to us is watching us collapse financially and economically."

I agree. Further, as big as China is, it is dewarfed by the American military. With the exception of full scale nuclear war, the technological superiority of the American military acts as a force multiplier that could not be made up my sheer numbers of Chinese troops.

Iraq once had the fourth largest Army and used some of the same Russian weapons being used by China. While China's troops will likely be much better trained, and have a superior airforce, we know what happend to the Iraqi army in about 100 days in 1991.

/talking out my ass.

steves 3:37 PM  

I agree that they can be a destabilizing force, but I think the bigger threat they pose to us is watching us collapse financially and economically.

I think you are correct. Bob, I can't wait to read your manifesto.

steves 2:07 PM  

Iraq once had the fourth largest Army and used some of the same Russian weapons being used by China. While China's troops will likely be much better trained, and have a superior airforce, we know what happend to the Iraqi army in about 100 days in 1991.

China's Army is more than three times the size of ours, but you are right, we are likely better trained and have better equipment. That being said, the technological gap is closing.

Iraq had a large army, but inept leadership. They also used a great deal of conscripts and were demoralized after a long war with Iran. A good number of tanks were Soviet manufactured in the 1950's, they had no navy to speak of, and their air force was a fraction of ours.

China cannot match our navy, but they have been pumping billions in building attack subs and ballistic missile subs. They also can't match our Air Force, but they are gaining. From what I have read, they have also been making big advances in the area of AFV's.

B Mac 4:24 PM  

From what I have read, they have also been making big advances in the area of AFV's.

They're gaining on us in America's Funniest Videos? What, is it funnier when a Chinese guy gets wailed in the nuts with a plastic whiffle-ball bat when compared to an American guy?

Bu seriously folks, of the NUMBER of problems I have with this "article" (false dichotomies, ridiculous generalities, general asshat-ness of the whole thing), a couple stand out.

First, the whole thing is SO lazy. "We fought a war years ago against bad people. And world events caused upheaval. And there were other countries in the world who didn't see things the same way as us. And people wore shoes, enjoyed sex, and thought Nicholas Cage was the most overrated actor ever."

(Okay, I made that last one up... but tell me the Greatest Generation wouldn't agree. Have you SEEN ConAir???)

Second, I find it problematic when those with whom I disagree make my points for me. Each of the four issues Thad mentioned were only overcome with MASSIVE intervention by the federal government. World War II was probably the time of the most centralized government control at any point in out history. Was the civil rights movement a proof of the power of individuals in the south to determine their own destiny, or did it have a little something to do with the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, Brown v. Board, and enough National Guardsmen to occupy Paris (okay, bad example)?

Third, the phrase that "our truths are self-evident and not relative" is (a) redundant, (b) the most obvious tautology I have ever seen, and (c) the kind of self-righteous, black-and-white, "with us or with the terrorists" mentality that defies everything we know about the complex world we live in.

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